WorkCover Continues Crackdown on Forklift Safety

Scarlet Reid & Alena Titterton write:

Whilst many companies have utilised forklifts for a number of years, forklifts continue to be the subject of numerous industrial accidents – including fatalities.

The most common scenarios where forklift incidents result in injury or fatality involve:

  • forklifts overturning;
  • bystanders being struck by forklifts; and
  • falls from forklifts.

WorkCover NSW is cracking down on forklift safety and is currently investigating various incidents involving the unsafe use of forklifts in NSW.

In WorkCover’s view, all forklift incidents can and should be prevented. The Chief Executive Officer, of WorkCover NSW, Jon Blackwell, confirmed this view recently when he stated:

“Incidents involving forklifts can be prevented when everyone involved in the workplace cooperates to ensure that the appropriate safety controls are adhered to.”

We recommend taking 5 simple steps to reduce the risk of forklift accidents:

  1. Never leave keys in ignition.
  2. Ensure pathways of travel are clearly marked.
  3. Monitor speed limits and penalise speeding drivers.
  4. Ensure forklifts are only operated by correctly certified operators.
  5. Ensure floors and surfaces where forklifts operate are in good condition.

The risk arising from the use of forklifts can be greatly reduced by following the steps listed above. Organisations should also ensure that they have appropriate safety management systems in place which document safe operating procedures for forklifts. These procedures should include: forklift operation; maintenance; traffic management; contractor management; training; and supervision.

Please contact us should you require assistance in managing your workplace health and safety obligations in relation to forklifts.


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